We provide access to high quality information on all aspects of living with cancer which is available in different formats like literature, DVD, tapes, and large print. We can provide the following:

  • Internet access to find appropriate resources
  • Access to a private room where you can speak to someone in confidence
  • Counselling support from a trained counsellor (more info below)
  • Access to financial help (see below)
  • Home visits (more info below)
  • Complementary therapy (more info below)
  • Referrals to the Stop Smoking Team
  • Befriending service (see below)

The service is for anyone who:

  • is living with cancer (see below)
  • is having tests for cancer
  • is worried about cancer and wants more information (see below)
  • is caring for someone with cancer
  • has been bereaved through cancer (see below)
  • looking to reduce the risks of cancer

Contact us

At South Tyneside

By phone 0191 2024167
By email macmillan.information@chsft.nhs.uk

The centre is located at South Tyneside Distirct Hospital, outpatients entrance. Open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm

At Sunderland

By phone 0191 5410122
By email macmillan.information@chsft.nhs.uk

The centre is located at Sunderland Royal Hospital, B Floor to the right of the main lifts, most easily accessed from the main entrance on Kayll Road.

Donate now

Find out how you can donate to the service here: https://www.stsft.nhs.uk/our-charity/donate-now

How to access the service

The service can be accessed:

By phone

0191 5410122 or alternatively on 0191 5656256 Ext: 47657. There is an answering machine available when the office is unmanned. Messages left on the answer phone will be answered within 24 hours (or the next working day).

By email


In person

Drop into the information centre on B Floor next to the main lifts. We also have supportive information stands where you can pick up leaflets in Chester Wing Outpatients and the Chemotherapy Unit.

Be a volunteer

Volunteers play a vital role in the running of the service from listening to providing quality information, completing benefits and Macmillan grants and signposting patients/carers to other projects within the Sunderland/Washington area.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Macmillan cancer information and support service please contact Deborah Spraggon on 0191 5410122 or email Macmillan.Information@chsft.nhs.uk for an informal discussion.

Home visits

If patients are unwell and need help and support, home visits can be carried out. Contact the centre to make an appointment at a time convenient to you.

Worried about cancer?

We help people with various worries; these are some examples of questions we have helped others answer:

  • My cousin had breast cancer when she was sixty, could I also get it when I am 60?
  • I have read in the news that stress can increase your risk of getting cancer is this true?
  • What are the signs and symptoms to watch out for with bowel cancer?
  • My daughter has been learning about cancer at school and wants to know more as her Grandad has bowel cancer, where can we look for further information?
  • My friend had lung cancer a year ago and it has made me want to rethink my lifestyle can you give me any information on how to stop smoking?

Living with cancer

Every experience of cancer is unique, but there are medical issues and emotions that many people share. Some people describe their experience of cancer as being like a journey. It is both a medical journey through treatment and an emotional journey through living with the uncertainties that cancer brings. When dealing with cancer you may have many questions, we hope to answer those questions and allay any fears you may have. We do this by providing emotional support, information and signposting you to other services.

The kind of questions we have been only too happy to help answer include:

  • I have been told my hair will fall out with my Chemotherapy treatment - How do I get a wig?
  • Will I always feel so tired?
  • I've been asked to go on a clinical trial but I don't really understand the information I was given; can you help?
  • Will complementary therapies make me feel better and do I need to pay for this
  • My relative doesn't want to know anything at all about their cancer or treatment. Can I still find out as much as I would like to know?
  • I don't qualify for benefits, but I'm struggling financially. Are there any other sources of funding?
  • Who can help me cope with my feelings? I don't want to burden my family with my worries
  • How can I explain my diagnosis to the kids?
  • My family doesn't understand my treatment, and I'm not explaining it very well. Can someone help us all understand it better?
  • I have prostate cancer and would like to speak with other men who are going through a similar experience, is there anywhere locally that can help?
  • I am a carer of someone with cancer, what information and support is available for me?
  • I want to go on holiday but am having trouble getting any insurance can you help?

Survivors of cancer

Surviving cancer is all about living with the longer term emotional and physical effects of a cancer diagnosis. Relationship problems and financial difficulties are common effects of surviving cancer. Our service is here to help answer any questions people may have about the long term effects of surviving cancer.

Listed below are just some of questions we have answered for other cancer survivors.

  • I finished treatment for breast cancer a year ago and am having trouble putting the washing out. How can I help myself?
  • I had cancer as a teenager I am in a long term relationship, can I get pregnant and should I take precautions?
  • I had cancer 5 years ago and am now going through the menopause, I have heard that I maybe more likely to get osteoporosis? What should I do?
  • Since having testicular cancer a year ago I now want to try and give up smoking can you help?


Though no two experiences of grief are the same, there are some common experiences that many people will share. Our service can provide you with practical suggestions to help patients and their families get through this difficult time. We can help to answer any questions or concerns they have and provide information on how to plan for a funeral, probate, contacting insurance companies and assistance accessing practical and financial support if needed. We can also direct you to other services in your area that you may be able to access via your GP.

Some questions we might be able to help with:

  • My husband died six weeks ago, now that everyone has gone home I feel alone and isolated what support can I get?
  • I have been caring for my wife with cancer for two years, she recently died and I don’t know what to do now, my life seems so empty, what should I do next
  • My close friend that I have known since we were at school has recently died of cancer sometimes I feel so sad when I think about them, is this normal?
  • My partner of six years has died, they were in debt and I am being asked to pay this; what should I do?

Financial help

Although your finances may not be the first thing on your mind after finding out you have cancer, there may well be changes to your lifestyle which could mean changes in you or your family's finances. Macmillan cancer support provides a range of information for patients and carers.

The government can offer various forms of financial help to patients and their carers.

Macmillan Cancer Support has produced a guide titled “Help with the cost of cancer” Macmillan has also produced a range of materials relating to financial issues for those with cancer and their families. The titles are as follows:

  • Financial planning
  • Income
  • State benefits and support
  • Spending
  • Everyday money
  • Savings and investments
  • Borrowings
  • Pensions
  • Insurance
  • Sorting out your affairs
  • Advice and complaints

Complementary therapy

We offer a range of Complementary Therapies carried out by trained therapists to help combat stress, and aid relaxation through the patient's cancer journey.

Many patients suffering from cancer make use of this service to help ease feelings of anxiety, reduce symptoms such as pain, nausea, constipation, insomnia and skin conditions. Call us to make an appointment.

Treatments offered are:

  • Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Reiki
  • Auricular Acupuncture


This service is delivered by Sunderland Counselling Services and offers counselling to individuals who have been diagnosed with any form of cancer or are at any stage of treatment for cancer. Counselling enables the client to explore how their current problems are affecting then and what issues may need to be addressed.

It aims:

  • To improve mental health and emotional wellbeing for adults with cancer and their carers
  • To reduce mental and emotional distress experienced by clients
  • To increase acceptance of illness by the client
  • To increase the range of coping strategies available to the client
  • To increase the level of support available to clients
  • To increase the accessibility and timeliness of services
  • To ensure clients receive appropriate services.


Referrals are made by the Centre Manager/volunteers direct to Sunderland Counselling Services Admin Team at the office base. All referrals are made with client’s knowledge and explicit consent.

Useful websites

We would encourage the use of only reputable websites when searching for information on the internet.Sometimes it can be daunting due to the volume of sites on the web and in order to try and help we have produce a list of recommended websites.Please click on the area you are interested in to get recommended websites related to that topic.

General websites

Macmillan Cancer Support if you would like any copies of the publications please contact the Macmillan cancer information and support service on 0191 5410122 or alternatively ring the free phone number 0800 808 00 00

Cancer Research UK provides patient information as well as latest news on cancer developments

NHS Cancer Screening information about the national cancer screening programme and what is involved in a screening

World Cancer Research Fund provides funding for research into all types of cancer as well as education programmes on healthy living

North of England Cancer Network is a comprehensive site offering local information about support groups as well as information on treatments and clinical trials for cancer

NHS Direct - use the search facility to look for information and articles on all types of cancer

For teachers

CRUK teaching resources - resources and publications for teachers relating to cancer

For carers

Government information for carers - provides information about all the support carers are entitled to

Carers Trust - vast information resource for people carers and professionals working with carers. Forums, latest news and information about your rights and entitlements.

Carers UK - information and support for carers

Babble - forum and support for carers aged 18 and under

When a parent has cancer

Rip Rap - contains information for those who have a parent who has cancer. Support to cope and stories from young people going through similar situations